A delegation of Opposition leaders including former Congress president Rahul Gandhi flew to Srinagar on Saturday but were sent back to Delhi from the airport. The leaders slammed the denial of entry, with a CPM politburo statement calling it “daylight robbery of rights” guaranteed by the Constitution.
In a letter that they wanted forwarded to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, the leaders said, “We are here at the public invitation of the honourable Governor who asked us to visit and see for ourselves the peace and normalcy that prevails.”
The delegation included Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and K C Venugopal, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi, CPI’s D Raja, NCP’s Majeed Memom, RJD’s Manoj Jha, D Kupendra Reddy of JD(S) and Sharad Yadav of LJD. The leaders said that “the objections to the delegation’s movement outside Srinagar Airport and the apprehension expressed in the order are baseless”. Recording their “strong objection to the basis of our detention”, they said it was prima facie “undemocratic and unconstitutional”.
When asked at a media briefing why the delegation was not allowed to enter to Srinagar city, state government spokesperson Rohit Kansal read out Friday’s tweet by the J&K Department of Information and Public Relations: “… Attempts should not be made by senior political leaders to disturb the gradual restoration of normal life. Political leaders are requested to cooperate and not visit Srinagar…”